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Towards the promotion of effective e-learning practice for academic-staff development in DIT

Author - Roisin Donnelly and Frances O' Brien

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Lecturer reactions to date

The evaluative feedback from the initial pilot round was very positive and has allowed us to refine and adapt the materials for the ongoing roll-out of the e-learning initiative at DIT. The main issue to emerge from the evaluation of the feedback was the need for lecturers to be aware that, before developing material for delivery online, one must plan and organise material and activities so that they have a structure; otherwise, as one participant stated, ‘it could be unorganised chaos’. Many other participants said of the workshops that they forced them to be aware of the human element of learning, of the real meaning of ‘pedagogy’, and of the ways in which people learn and collaborate both online and in the traditional face-to-face learning situation, and that this, in turn, would aid them in adapting their course materials accordingly. Furthermore, a WebCT area was developed to accompany these workshops where the instructors posted notes and readings to supplement the workshops. The participants indicated that they found it helpful to have access to so much material that they could read through in their own time and use as a resources as they began developing their materials.

Asked if they had any further comments to make, many answered that they found the workshops very beneficial and that they were now looking forward to spending some time designing a course using the principles for good course design that they had just learnt and making the next academic year more interesting for their students.

The future

The comprehensive e-learning programme started with a mix of face-to-face interactive WebCT training, amalgamated with professional development training in how to teach in an online environment. Current research and development work is taking place to deliver electronically mediated, well-designed, learner-centred, interactive training via WebCT to any interested DIT lecturer, anyplace, anytime.

For further information on these workshops access:

http://intranet.dit.ie/ltt/index.html. Alternatively, contact the Learning and Teaching Centre at learning.teaching@dit.ie, or the Learning Technology Team at ltt@dit.ie.


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